Myanmar releases foreigners including Australian economist from prison – Media

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Myanmar’s military leaders have released Sean Turnell, an Australian economist and former adviser to democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, and 6 000 others from prison under an amnesty, Myanmar media reported on Thursday.

Irrawaddy News and BBC Burmese reported Vicky Bowman, a former British envoy and Toru Kubota, a Japanese filmmaker, were also among those released.

Turnell had been charged with violating a state secrets law.

Bowman had been charged with immigration violations, and Kubota with sedition and violating a communications law.

Bowman had been imprisoned along with her husband, prominent Burmese artist Ko Htein Lin.

Myanmar has been in the political turmoil since the military staged coup last year by arresting civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi in the early morning raids on February 1, 2021.

Myanmar Now, an independent news outlet, cited the military council as saying the pardons were granted because it was Myanmar National Day.

“On National day, the military council announced that almost 6 000 prisoners were released.

Among those were four foreigners and 11 celebrities,” the news report said.

A junta spokesperson did not answer Reuters’ phone calls seeking comment.

The Australian and Japanese foreign ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.